Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Community Lead

    Maybe Jointcracktitits is for the biggest part a psychosomatic disease.

    The urge to crack the joints has no real "physical" reasons, but stems from a underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Stress, emotional pain and other factors can lead to such disease.

    I noticed that I have much less urge to crack my joints when I am in a low stress setting or enjoy myself very much. There have been times so overwhelmed with joy that I didn't had to crack my joints at all for multiple days. When I'm under very high pressure I have not much time to bother about cracking my joints either.
    It seems an emotional state in between those extremes produces the largest desire to crack. When I have worry in my mind, am annoyed about something I feel the urge the strongest.

    Maybe this means Jointcracktitis is "only" a mind sickness. Maybe it means Jointcracktitis has such a low profile that it is merely not noticed when we have other things on our minds. The pain and suffering is clearly not strong enough to bother me at the happy times.

    Personally, I subscribe most strongly to this theory at this moment.

  • Community Lead

    Linking joint cracking to OCDs in Google yielded first interesting results. This certainly is currently the best call to follow up on.

    See http://www.ocdforums.org/index.php?showtopic=3231

    I'll quote some interesting passages:

    Bobby Chariot wrote:

    count me in on the joint cracking thing! - my shoulders, back, ankles, knees and toes tend to be the worst, but like Steviemfc, it is pretty much every joint.
    I was quite surprised to hear at the conference that this was symptomatic of the tourette's end of the ocd spectrum!
    but i have a diagnosis of ocd - not ocd & ts - i guess it's all down to degree…

    meg5 wrote:

    This is interesting.I had never heard of joint cracking being liked to TS . My son cracks his knuckles and his back. He says he gets a sort of tension build up in the joints and just has to crack them. I have OCD and my daughter shows OCD symptoms .

    Has anyone who has cracked their joints for years found it causes joint problems? I have worried that my son could be damaging his joints doing this but he says he has to because he can't stand the feeling. Meg

    Steviemfc wrote:

    Like you I had never heard of joint cracking being linked with TS either, however the representative of Tourettes Scotland was saying at the recent OCDUK conference in Stirling that cracking joints is a really common symptom for lots of TS sufferers.

    I have cracked all my joints for about 15 years now. During that period, I have put my neck out of place a couple of times because of it but apart from that my joints seem to be ok at the mo!

    The only other thing is that the joints in my big toes seem to be quite swollen, but they are not sore in any way.

    My cracking has stopped somewhat over recent years, although there is never a day goes by that I will not crack every joint in my body. I just need to do it!!

    Sometimes, if I get really tense, I will continue to try and crack a joint until it pops. This causes some physical exertion at times as you can probably imagine.

    I used to keep adding different body joints to my 'cracking portfolio' but I think now that I have covered them all!!! - except hips.

    Hope this info is of some use.

    The group also differentiates between chronic tics and OCD and Tourettes syndrome. Catherine wrote:

    Of course, some folk suffer from 'chronic tics' which is similar to TS in that the tics are present, but not all the other features of TS. Not all tics necessarily lead to a diagnosis of fully blown TS.

    Hipchick wrote:

    I just wanted to say I crack the joints in my body and it disgusts everyone around me! But it's like…if I am somewhere quiet and I feel I have to crack my ankle I HAVE to do it and the more consious of it I am the more I have to do it and so on. I try not to but I find if I don't it gets really uncomfortable for me bcause i just...KNOW that it's there lol. i don't have Tourettes but I do have some mild (debatable lol) OCd tendancies and I think it's linked somehow. I wish I could stop it because I know how gross it is to people near me......but I really can't seem to not do it.

    Catherine recommends:

    This sounds like a compulsive ritual to me :dry:

    I appreciate you must find it distressing and I guess the only real way to tackle it, is to try and resist the urge to crack….......as you would in other rituals such as washing or checking.

    "CBT" is mentioned by shameful_beauty when the resisting of joint cracking is discussed:

    I'm gonna try my own version of CBT this summer I think. I shall resist the cracking muahahaha!

    CBT stands for Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques. I guess here it is just attempted to stop joint cracking by will power before taking medication or implementing even more extreme measures.

  • Bleh, atm I'm trying to compromise my strongly anti-psyhcology beliefs with the fact that some disorderes and cures seem to happen/work. I wouldn't be quite that quick to diagnose it as a disorder, though it can be (very) annoying at times.

    Maybe there is a physical pressure? 😉

  • Community Lead

    You are not the only one with strong anti-psychological beliefs. Which is why I felt compelled to found this community.

    We need more input!

  • I was about to post that I thought it was OCD related when i stumbled on this thread.

    I really want to see someone, a professional, that will actually care and give me some sort of direction with the jointcracking (as to how to go about stopping/healing), because it really does worry me, just the amount i do it, etc.

    And then I considered the possibility of going to a Psychiatrist & getting treated for it as an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? I mean if you have the urge to do something, liturally, every minute of the day (as i do) that is possibly damaging your body, and you really, really, can't stop - It has to be OCD does it not?

    I was thinking about going to my doctor and getting him to refer me to a psych for it, what do you guys think, they'll laugh me out the room?

  • Community Lead


    I mean if you have the urge to do something, liturally, every minute of the day (as i do) that is possibly damaging your body, and you really, really, can't stop - It has to be OCD does it not?

    I was thinking about going to my doctor and getting him to refer me to a psych for it, what do you guys think, they'll laugh me out the room?

    Yes, OCD is one of the most likely causes in my book right now, too.
    I don't think they'll laugh you out of the room, DancingJester.

    If it hadn't been of such great concern to me I wouldn't have invested time and money to create this website. Nor would this community grow like it does if it was only a laughable matter.

    A positive side effect of this community growing is that we start to collect proof that others have the same worries and are serious about it. We are not alone. Pointing a doctor to this community once it has grown larger should quickly alleviate any doubts of seriousness.

    So this type of treatment is definitely worth a try. Like you already recognized, the solution to this problem is in numbers. The more of us who try different treatment methods, the more experiences we can accumulate until we do find the definite treatment which works.

    It took me quite a few years to recognize that I alone, cannot try everything to find all the answers. But together we can!

    So whatever you do, please report back and share so that we learn.

    Personally, I have had small successes in controlling my desire to crack by trying to put my mind to it more and more. For the longest time cracking my toes etc. has been a habit I just did without thinking whenever I got out of bed for example. Now, I try to listen to my bodily reactions and only crack the joint consciously when I feel too weak to ignore the build up pressure.

    The pressure feeling still confuses me. I still can't believe I'm making this up. Maybe it will go away when you have the strength to ignore the feeling for an extended period of time?

    So many questions are still in the open…

  • I posted this in a different section regarding anxiety disorders but feel it is more appropriate here:

    I have some OCD symptoms, which I believe are correlated to my cracking habits. I wonder if other avid crackers have OCD or OCD-like symptoms and if you think the two could be related. Some of the things I do are chew food the same number of times on each side of my mouth before swallowing, the TV volume has to be on an odd number, I only eat chips and other snack items in pairs (if only one is left over I can't eat it), and I avoid cracks on the pavement, but if I step on one with one foot I have to step on another crack of similar width with the opposite foot to "even" me out. I carry out a normal happy life but these few things really irk me! any thoughts?

  • I also think joint cracking is linked with OCD. I have never been diagnosed with it, but I know I have it because I have the symptoms. I must turn the tv volume onto an even number, I sort my sweets into pairs especially when they are different colours, I count my steps sometimes when I walk, I try not to step on the cracks when I am walking on a tiled floor, when I play card games I drive everyone else who play insane because I constantly pack their cards straight when they pack them out on the table! I also frequently wash my hands and hardly ever walk barefoot because I am scared I will get dirt and germs on my skin. Jointcraking is just another part of my OCD behaviour.

  • Community Lead

    Anoter link to OCD from ask.metafilter.com:

    I have a friend who cannot stop cracking her wrists and knuckles. Similar to you, she remembers thinking how gross this was before she started doing it. But once she started, she can't stop. She has other issues in her life that led her to realize that this is a symptom of a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I can't tell you if this applies to you, but I do think that seeing a therapist, (the suggestion of behavior modification therapy sounds right on) might be helpful (and might be covered by health insurance, if you have it).

  • Jointcracker that is a good point about the OCD, i'd never really thought of that before. Any ideas how to treat it if it is the reason?

  • I thought it was pretty obvious when i found out what it was entirely.

  • In what way?

  • You do it instinctively and without realising and that it is a necessity.

  • but i would say that it is hard to tell if that is the problem.. because sometimes joints crack automatically such as when you get up in the morning or after sitting down for ages.
    although automatically is close to instinctively i guess 😉

  • Yeh but after you start cracking, these 'natural' cracks happen more and easier.

  • If you guys crack half as much as you blog .
    you are OCD crackers.

  • haha

  • @MasterCracker:

    If you guys crack half as much as you blog .
    you are OCD crackers.


  • I crack my joints often, including a wrist attempt every day (without fail). I have OCD.

  • im young but i crack my ankles almost 24/7 i feel like ill freak out if i dont almost like it hurts i dont understand y and i have tryed to stop but if i dont i feel really bad

Log in to reply